New search

Engaging critically with environmental governance practices

Dear students, as you probably know the course starts on Wednesday, but because we are encouraged to not have lectures on Wednesdays, we have created following instructions for day 1:

Instructions for Day 1 (Wed, 24 March)

Hello dear students of MX0149: engaging critically with environmental governance practices,

SLU encourages us to keep Wednesdays free from face-to-face meetings, and so we will have our first course session on Thursday, 25 March 2021, 9.30am. We will meet via the following Zoom link:

Meeting URL:

Meeting ID: 671 2517 9684

Passcode: 938251

To allow you to unwind from handing in assignments, we would like you to grab a nice beverage and some snacks, find a nice place to sit, watch some films, and take some notes on these. We will use the films and your notes as starting points for discussions and assignments in the first course weeks.

Specifically, we ask you to:

  1. watch our brief introduction video on environmental governance: or on Canvas

  2. watch at least 2 out of the 4 films linked below; if for some reason you are unable to access them, please connect to the university's VPN and try again:

    1. Portugal: The Dirty Truth Behind Green Cars (Portugal, 24m, fr/de/en)

      On the sustainability choices between lithium mining for modern battery technology and the protection of rural communities.

    2. Marine Biodiversity and Villagers' Voices (Tanzania, 48m, en)

      On the mistrust and disappointment that emerged after government-mandates for co-management of marine national parks were not taken seriously anymore.

    3. Peru: The Price of Gold (Peru, 24m, fr/de/en)

      On the collusion of local villagers and external actors for illegal gold mining; thanks to the locals, the military always seems to be a step too slow.

    4. More of Everything (Sweden, 59m, en/sv/de)

      On the hidden (or ignored) sustainability and biodiversity issues of the Swedish forestry industry.

  3. take notes on the following questions for the two films you watched:

    1. what is the problem that the film presents? are there underlying issues or dimensions of the problem, that the film does not (or only insufficiently) accounts for?

    2. what actors are introduced? whose interest do these actors seem to represent? are actors presented to be sources of problems or solutions?

    3. considering what you learnt in the introduction video: are environmental governance attempts described? what sort of governance mechanisms (legislation, norms, contracts, enforcement) are considered? which degree engagement of private and societal actors do the presented possible solutions exhibit?

  4. think about a (local) environmental problem you engaged with in the past or have heard about; possibly including further literature research, write a brief summary or notes about your problem (you will need a polished case description for an assignment in a few weeks) and prepare to introduce yourself and your problem briefly (less than 3 min) in class:

    1. what is the problem? are there any underlying problems?

    2. what actors are involved in the problem and in potential solutions? who and what are affected by the problem?

    3. what governance measure(s) are taken to deal with the problem?

    4. why did you choose this problem? why is it interesting to you?

    5. how were you engaged in it?

If you have any questions, please send us an email: / /

Good luck with this; we are looking forward to see you on the 25th!

Fanny, Malte, and Lotten

The course schedule is updated (under "timetable"). We also want to remind you who have been accepted and intend to participate in the course to register. You do this via Ladok Student (on the student web).

As the reserve list to the course includes a lot of students who are eager to start the course, we do encourage you who have been accepted but do not intend to take part, to sign off as soon as possible please. You can easily do that via or

The course evaluation is now closed

MX0149-40110 - Course evaluation report

Once the evaluation is closed, the course coordinator and student representative have 1 month to draft their comments. The comments will be published in the evaluation report.

Additional course evaluations for MX0149

Academic year 2020/2021

Engaging critically with environmental governance practices (MX0149-M4110) 2021-03-24 - 2021-06-06

MX0149 Engaging critically with environmental governance practices, 15.0 Credits

Att förstå samhällets miljöstyrning utifrån ett kritiskt konstruktivt förhållningssätt

Syllabus approved



Environmental science

Education cycle

Master’s level


Title Credits Code
Individual assignment 1 4.00 1002
Project work 6.00 1003
Individual assignment 2 5.00 1004

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, only first-cycle courses as entry requirements(A1N)

Grading scale

5:Pass with Distinction, 4:Pass with Credit, 3:Pass, U:Fail The requirements for attaining different grades are described in the course assessment criteria which are contained in a supplement to the course syllabus. Current information on assessment criteria shall be made available at the start of the course.



Prior knowledge

Knowledge equivalent to English 6 from upper secondary school.
Equivalent to 180 credits and specialized studies comprising 90 credits within one of the following subjects/disciplinary domains: natural sciences, technology or social sciences.


Communication is crucial for environmental governance practices. These practices include, among others, managing natural resources, organising collective action, coordinating multi-stakeholder initiatives, and creating arenas for public deliberation. The aim of this course is to develop in depth insights into how environmental governance is carried out in practice. In order to understand environmental governance and how it can be assessed and improved, students critically explore ongoing governance practices and suggest improvements together with environmental governance actors such as citizens, professionals and organisations. By taking this course, students are expected to develop their knowledge on a number of social constructionist theories. They will also improve their facilitation skills and refine their ability to collect and analyse empirical data in a way that is useful for both research and practice.

After completion of the course the student will be able to:
- describe different theories suitable to critically understand environmental governance in practice;
- describe qualitative research methods that can be used to investigate, assess and suggest improvements to an ongoing environmental governance practice;
- demonstrate understanding of the use of theory to critically reflect on an ongoing environmental governance practice and vice versa;
- arrange and facilitate activities where they can learn together with other actors and jointly reflect on the results of an investigative project.


The course has two main components; a theoretical and an experiential/practical component. In the theoretical component, theories relevant to environmental governance, for example social practice, discourses, symbolic interactionism, power or framing, are presented and discussed through lectures, literature studies and seminars. Qualitative research methods for example interviews, focus groups and participant observations, including analysis of empirical material through coding are also presented and discussed. Each student writes a short paper on these theories and methods and reviews a paper written by a course mate.

In the experiential/practical component, students conduct an investigative project of an ongoing environmental governance practice or case (e.g. the municipal management of water bodies, the coordination of actions by grassroots organisations, or the mediation of conflicts between multiple stakeholders). As part of their investigative project, students carry out field visits and use the learnt theories and research methods to collect and analyse empirical material. Throughout the process of the investigative project, students interact and critically engage with governance actors involved in their case. Findings and insights from their investigative project are compiled in a written report and presented to relevant actors in a learning activity (e.g. workshop, seminar or webinar) that students design and facilitate. It is expected that the results of the investigative project will be useful for research and include some kind of assessment of the studied practice as well as suggestions for improving it.

Formats and requirements for examination

Examination through:
- individual written exam.

Requirements to pass the course are:
- passed written exam
- passed, active participation in the investigative project work including the report;
- passed, active participation in literature seminars;
- passed paper and peer-review a paper of a course mate.
  • If the student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
  • If the student has been granted special educational support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative assessment.
  • If changes are made to this course syllabus, or if the course is closed, SLU shall decide on transitional rules for examination of students admitted under this syllabus but who have not yet passed the course.
  • For the examination of a degree project (independent project), the examiner may also allow the student to add supplemental information after the deadline. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Other information

  • The right to take part in teaching and/or supervision only applies to the course date to which the student has been admitted and registered on.
  • If there are special reasons, the student may take part in course components that require compulsory attendance at a later date. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Responsible department

Department of Urban and Rural Development

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom naturresurser och jordbruk (PN - NJ)
Replaces: MX0116
There are no Grading criteria posted for this course

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes The course is offered as a programme course: EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science Environmental Communication and Management - Master´s Programme Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38054 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Environmental science
Course code: MX0149 Application code: SLU-40110 Location: Uppsala Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Urban and Rural Development Pace: 100%